Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Women's Advocacy Collection

The Woman's Era, Volume 1, an electronic edition

by Josephine St. P. Ruffin [Ruffin, Josephine St. P.] and Florida R. Ridley [Ridley, Florida R.]

date: [1894-1897]
source publisher: Woman's Era Club
collections: Abolition, Freedom, and Rights, Women's Advocacy

Table of Contents

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HOW TO STOP LYNCHING.

Tuesday, May 1, 1894

In his very admirable and searching address delivered in this city, April 16th, judge Albion W. Tourgee proposed as a remedy to prevent the lynching of colored people at the South, that the country where lynchings occur be compelled by law to pension the wife and children of the murdered man. This, he said would make murder costly and in self defense the local authorities would put a stop to it. At first blush, this is an attractive suggestion. But why not hang the murderers? Why make a distinction between the murderers of white men and the murderers of colored men? If the punishment for murder is hanging why hang the murderer in one case and in the other let the murderer go free and exact of the county a fine? If an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is the rule in one case why should it not be the rule in the other case? No, the truth is this, nothing is to be expected from the South. The colored people must look to the general government. It has a right to their services and lives in time of war. They have a right to its protection certainly in time of peace. It is idle to say that it must leave to state governments the protection of the lives of its citizens. Why not leave to state governments the punishment


9   THE WOMAN'S ERA.

of counterfeiters? If the United States government can protect money, the property of its citizens against destruction at the hands of the counterfeiter, it can protect the owners of the property against loss of life at the hands of the murderer. It is an astounding proposition that a great nation is powerful enough to stop white moonshines [sic] from making whiskey but is unable to prevent the moonshiners or any one else from murdering its citizens. It can protect corn but cannot protect life. It can prevent the sale of tobacco unless the seller pays a revenue to the government but it cannot protect its citizens at any price. It can go to war, spend millions of dollars and sacrifice thousands of lives to avenge the death of a naturalized white citizen slain by a foreign government on foreign soil, but cannot spend a cent to protect a loyal, native-born colored American murdered without provocation by native or alien in Alabama. Shame on such a government! The administration in power is particeps criminis with the murderers. It can stop lynching, and until it does so, it has on its hands the innocent blood of its murdered citizens.